4 out of 4 stars
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The Accelerating World: Speed vs. Control is an informative and helpful book written by Emmanuel Cassimatis.
The book presents the amazing accelerating trend towards progress which may also mean an accelerating trend of presumably insignificant but actually severe adverse effects.
In addition to the Preface and Conclusion, the book is divided into three major parts. Part 1 features mysterious and seemingly unrelated events like the sudden depletion of sand, mysterious disappearance of some species at a mass extinction rate, surprising boom of diabetes somewhere in the Polynesia and exponential global personal data loss. Part 2 discusses the uncontrolled hyper growth for the past five decades in seven specific areas: population, economy, technology, data, environment, freedom and health. This hyper growth is due to the inverse relationship between speed and control and the combination of compounding, connectedness and cyclicity effects. Part 3 offers suggestions on how to possibly cope with this acceleration.
The book is a treasure trove of information backed up by several graphical analyses on the seven areas of study. Consequently, the valuable information discussed elicits various reactions from me, from interest, to concern, then alarm and ultimately, fear. The book is very organized in that each topic is followed by subtopics and ended with concise summaries. Though the book is teeming with jargons, it is apparent that the author tries to make the book understandable to ordinary readers and even includes a list of definition of terms at the end of the book. Moreover, claims are supported by references and references are neatly listed in a bibliography.
I find all the subject matters very interesting especially about population and environment. However, there are some discussions about specific topics that catch my attention. Among these are: personal online data breach due to cybercrime, cyber espionage, hacking and malware; superfast mass consumption or the people’s sudden need to buy more things than they actually need and at an accelerated pace; robotics and artificial intelligence; and exploitation of the environment. Moreover, I appreciate the inclusion of some very interesting anecdotes like ‘The story of the mighty King and the grain of wheat’ and the ‘Tulip bulbs in 1637 in Holland’ as well as other interesting information like the list of wealthiest men on the planet.
However, though the book is undoubtedly interesting, it is not to be read for amusement or entertainment. It tackles very serious subject matters that concern not only the present but more importantly the future generation. I also believe that it is intended for specific type of readers like political leaders, environmentalists and researchers. While the pieces of information imparted in the book are informative and helpful, the amount of information can be overwhelming to ordinary readers. Furthermore, I noticed typo errors (like Kind instead of King, tony instead of tiny and the instead of they) and missing words which are thankfully very few.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is interesting, informative and helpful. I recommend it to anybody who is interested in global phenomena and the future of the planet.
The Accelerating World: Speed vs. Control
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